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Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve

One of cinema’s great beauties, Catherine Deneuve (born Catherine Dorléac in Paris in 1943) is also an icon of the transformative cinematic 1960s. The daughter of two actors and the sister of three (one of whom, Françoise Dorléac, died in a car crash in 1967), Deneuve has acting in her blood. After her major breakthrough in Jacques Demy’s poignant 1964 musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Deneuve continued to prove she was more than just a pretty face in Roman Polanski’s thriller Repulsion and Luis Buñuel’s surreal erotic daydream Belle de jour. Those films may exploit Deneuve’s crystalline loveliness for its seeming inscrutability, but her portrayals of sexual repression in both (and her shocking embodiment of schizophrenia in the former) make for two of the most vivid performances of the era. Those roles set her on the path to becoming a full-fledged movie star, and she went on to act for François Truffaut, Alain Cavalier, Marco Ferreri, and Jean-Pierre Melville. Her performances have grown richer as she’s aged; today, she is a true grand dame of the cinema, and her compellingly enigmatic looks—once interpreted as fragile—have taken on a mature imperiousness, as evidenced in such films as Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale (in which she costars with her daughter with Marcello Mastroianni, Chiara Mastroianni).